Thursday, August 26, 2010

Soup's On

I am not a fan of soup.

The fact that you slurp, and not chew, is what gets me. My husband started requesting chili during the winter and I made it, grumbling about how I'd have to make two dinners. But something happened.

I liked it.

I believe the chunkiness of chili and stew helps my getting past the whole "slurping" issue. It feels like food, not liquid.

Last week, I got really, really drunk. And the next day I felt really yuck, and like every other day this summer, it was kind of cool outside. So I found a recipe for a summer vegetable soup from this lady and changed it enough that I feel I can post my version here. Yes, it's pretty chunky.
Chilly Portland Summer Soup (adapted from Vegan Food; More than Tofu and Sprouts!)
  • 1 sweet onion, chopped small
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large carrot (or in my case, 4 small carrots) chopped
  • 2 cups green beans, chopped
  • 1 cup water + 1.5 cups tomato sauce
  • 2 cups vegetarian broth
  • 3 Tablespoons minced fresh basil
  • 2 Tablespoons finely minced fresh sage (or 1 tsp dry)
  • 1/2 tsp fresh rosemary, finely minced
  • 1 zucchini, chopped
  • 1/2 cup uncooked whole wheat pasta (I used shells)
  • 2 cups of greens (I used 1 cup beet greens and 1 cup of kale)
  • 1 ear of sweet corn, kernels cut off
  • several drops hot sauce (I had szechuan sauce, and it was pretty tasty)
  • salt and pepper to taste
In a large saucepan, saute the onion, garlic, carrots and green beans in a little bit of water over medium low heat until onion is transparent. Add water and tomato juice mixture and simmer for 20 - 30 minutes or so, until carrots are tender.

Add broth, herbs, zucchini and kale.

Increase heat to medium high to bring broth to a boil. Add pasta then reduce heat to a simmer 7-9 minutes or until pasta is cooked.

Add beet greens and simmer 5 more minutes, until greens are soft/lightly cooked and pasta is done to your taste.

Season with a drop or two hot sauce, (for flavor, not heat), salt and pepper to taste.

As you can see, this was an awesome way of using up CSA vegetables. Everything minus the tomato sauce was local, and I just felt really good about the soup as a whole. Plus, it was delicious. And not slurpy.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

This S*it is Bananas

My husband loves banana cream pie. His birthday is in a couple of days so I thought I would attempt a vegan version of the treat for a small dinner party we had with some good friends. In searching for a good vegan recipe, I stumbled upon this blog and decided to give the recipe a test run.

Instead of Nasoya, though, I found a different silken tofu dessert.

The first pie I made was a trial run. The flavor of the tofu dessert is not great. But I followed the directions of the recipe and hoped for the best. The filling was more custard like, definitely not creamy. It tasted like bananas but it was very bland. For the crust I mashed up some graham crackers and added some coconut oil and almond milk. It was just ok, but it would not do for my husband's birthday pie.

For the dinner party, I played around with the ingredients and baking time and succeeded in making a much more delicious pie. Here is what I did:

Graham Cracker Crust

Preheat oven to 325F. Lightly grease pie tins.

11 graham crackers, mashed
4 tbsp Earth Balance, melted
Splash of non dairy milk
2 bananas

 Combine crackers and Earth Balance until crackers are mostly moist. Add a splash of non dairy milk if needed and then form the crust into pie tins (I used 3 small "pot pie" tins. Slice the bananas and layer on top of the crust.

Banana Cream Pie filling

1.5 tbsp arrowroot powder
 1.5 tbsp water
16 oz or 1.5 packages of the tofu dessert seen above
1 tbsp soy creamer
1 tsp vanilla
big pinch of sugar

Whisk the arrowroot and water together into a slurry. Pour into a large bowl and add the tofu dessert, soy creamer, vanilla and sugar. Mix well. Pour into tins, filling each tin about 3/4 full. Bake for 30 minutes. The filling will still be a little jiggly but this is good!

Coconut Milk Whipped Cream Topping

1 14oz can full fat coconut milk
1/4 cup powdered sugar

Refrigerate the coconut milk for at least 4 hours. Carefully open the can and spoon the solid cream into bowl. Using an electric mixer, mix until the cream has slightly bulkened up and then add the powdered sugar and mix well. Spoon over banana filling and refrigerate at least 2 hours.

These were a hit. The filling was creamy and banana-y, the crust was sweet and still a little crunchy and the topping really pulled the whole thing together. This is the first time I've experimented with a baked good (well, a sort of baked good!) and had it gone so well!

The rest of the dinner party featured delicious Indian food, but maybe I'll share that later. The pies were definitely the star.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Vegan in Hawaii?

It looks as if we have an excellent opportunity to go to Hawaii for very cheap in a month with a good friend of mine. It will eat up a little of our Europe savings but I NEED to go somewhere. Wanderlust has completely taken over my life!

This means 3 meals a day of beans and rice, but it's worth it.

Suggestions? Rants? Raves?